What Good Is Marriage If Divorce Is So Common?

    Plenty of blogs and articles address marriage: why we save sex for it, what to expect in it and how not to idolize it. But not every young woman comes into adulthood with a positive outlook on marriage. There are many who come from broken homes and aren’t sure marriage holds much hope or promise. Some wonder what marriage is worth when it so often ends in divorce and heartbreak.

    These sentiments are real and the question is valid: If 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, as the media tells us, why should we marry at all? And as Christians, is divorce God’s intention?

    God does not like divorce. In fact, God hates it (Malachi 2:16). However, because of sin in the world, God permits divorce under certain circumstances (Matthew 19). While God’s heart is broken by divorce, God doesn’t hate those affected by it. He comforts the brokenhearted and is present with those who are suffering from broken homes and relationships.

    Jesus Himself was born into a family most likely burdened with rumor and gossip. Though Mary and Joseph were not divorced, Joseph nearly divorced Mary when he first found out she was pregnant, believing she’d had an affair. But even after Joseph was told by God to marry Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, rumors could have followed. Even in His adulthood Jesus may have been accused (falsely) of being born out of wedlock (John 8:41). But most of all, Jesus faced the rejection of God Himself—His Father—when He took on the sin of the world (Matthew 27:45-46). The emotional trauma that comes with divorce—whether gossip and rumor or the deeper, inner betrayal from family members themselves—is something Jesus knows all about. He is present with those who have experienced this pain.

    Divorce is the product of sin. It is not God’s design and is not the automatic outcome of marriage, particularly a God-centric one. There is hope for a wonderful marriage even in a world tainted by sin, but it requires us to depend on God and follow His design for relationships. Good marriages are based on the same sacrificial love God showed when Jesus died on the cross (Ephesians 5:25-26). It’s not easy or always comfortable, but it is the kind of love that commits. It’s the kind of love that stands by the covenant made in wedding vows, just as God stands by His covenant of salvation to us.

    When we find our identity in Christ, we are able to enter marriage with the strength and wisdom required to maintain such a lasting commitment. When we get approval from God, we can give of ourselves even when He is the only one who sees. And if we seek, date and marry the kind of person who loves God as much as he loves us, we can enter marriage with the spiritual unity on which a lasting marriage is built.

    Spiritual unity leads to marital peace. Because God IS love, in order to love one another in a lasting way, we must know Him and His definition of what love is. When we found our hearts, and therefore our relationships, on His truth and wisdom, marriage can be a beautiful testimony to God’s redeeming power.

    Divorce may have been your parents’ story, but it does not have to be yours. There is hope for a beautiful relationship with a husband who loves you with the love of Christ. There is hope for a redeeming love because our God is a saving God. This doesn’t mean marriage is easy; it still takes intention, time, patience, unconditional respect and love. But divorce will not be the outcome when two people dedicated to God and His design work together, love intentionally and commit to simply stay—for better or for worse.

    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer is an author and speaker teaching women how to discern what is true, discuss the deep stuff, and accomplish God's will for their specific lives. She holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, where she met her husband, Josh, and now lives in northern Michigan with her two daughters, Adeline and Geneva.


    1. I have to admit that I’m scared a little bit of marriage. I know people who you would never have thought would ever get a divorce, but they did. It freaks me out that he could change and eventually do something I never expected. I am really trying to trust God with all of it, because He loves me, but it’s hard.

      • Just keep in mind marriage is a commitment there will be moments when you don’t always feel love for your husband no matter how great your marriage is but you will commit to love him and him to love you even through the hard times! Because marriage is a beautiful picture of God’s unconditional love for us!

      • It can be hard to trust in this area, Sarah, especially if you have seen divorce firsthand. But the beauty of God’s love is that He is our sustainer and our truest love. When we love God first, He is with us through the riskiness of human love. But this also gives you a great motive to look for a man who loves God first. This is why “settling” is so dangerous, and why Paul warns so adamantly against being “unequally yoked” to unbelievers! A man who loves God will follow God’s design for marriage, and God Himself preserves the marriages of those who fully love Him and one another. 🙂

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